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I am currently a post-doc and I would like to apply for a tenure-track position in a health-related discipline. As part of the application, the search committee requests a record of teaching excellence. My experience with teaching so far has been as a TA but never had a chance to teach a course or even part of a course. Just wondering what should I include in this section of the application? Do I submit a teaching philosophy with a brief summary of my TA experience? (they did not request a teaching philosophy) I am looking forward to hearing from present and former research committees members (and for sure from anyone else would like to participate).

  • What did you do as a TA? TA Jobs can go everywhere from just sitting around in the computer room and waiting for questions to grading homework and explaining solutions to developing new homework questions, developing online teaching modules, developing exams, grading exams, being the second official on oral exams, teaching a lecture while the prof is absent, or even developing and teaching a whole prep course. If you have done most of that and everything you did was to your advisors satisfaction, get a statement from him about it. If not, think about whether you are qualified to teach, yet. – Sumyrda - Reinstate Monica Sep 10 '14 at 7:46
  • Sumyrda-- Thank you very much for your informative comment. In my TA roles I led orientation sessions, marked students’ term papers, organized and corrected assignments, led practical/demonstration labs, and answered students’ questions regarding the course materials. I will try to summarize these activities in my record of teaching excellence. This This position I am applying for requires both research and teaching skills. I am confident my research skills/ publications will be my application's primary strength but the teaching experience will be its main weakness. – Greg Sep 10 '14 at 20:39
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Include what teaching you have done as a TA. Space permitting, I would also include some details of what your teaching comprised, e.g. setting and marking coursework, small group tutoring, class tutorials etc.

As the application calls for a record of teaching excellence, try to identify aspects of what teaching you have done that meets some reasonable definition of "excellence". Do you have evidence of positive student reviews? Any lecturer/tutor assessments?

Do not include a statement of teaching philosophy if it is not called for.

  • Thanks for the advice! I have "thank you emails" from the course instructors/students, can I quote something from these emails? – Greg Sep 10 '14 at 20:47
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    @Greg, if the course instructors are essentially your employers, consider asking them to be one of your references for your application. Regarding quoting students, I would only do this if the student could not be identified from their comments. Alternatively, or as well, you could ask people to recommend you on LinkedIn, if you have an account. You could then refer to these recommendations in your application. I would be cautious about asking for LinkedIn recommendations from students unless you have no further direct influence on their progress. – Nicholas Sep 15 '14 at 8:22

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